Sebastien Bourdais has taken his victory in US Open Wheel racing after seven years following a dominant display in the heavily delayed first IndyCar race at Toronto.
This start was not without drama as a lap one pile up involving Simon Pagenaud, Takuma Sato, Luca Filippi and Josef Newgarden brought out the red flag and left fans wondering if they would ever see a full lap of green flag running. Incidentally all the drivers managed to restart except for Sato who must be wondering what he has done in the past to deserve this bad karma.
Even that couldn’t phase Bourdais – who had taken a Champ Car win at this very track ten years ago – with a 3.3 second victory from Helio Castroneves the smallest margin between him and his rivals for the majority of the race.
Indeed the only moment that made the KVSH Racing driver hold his breath was his contact with a chunk of suspension ejected from the Andretti Autosport car of Ryan Hunter-Reay.
The multiple Champ Car champion said: “It’s really sweet, man. That one didn’t come easy. We had to fight and wait for it for a long time, but today was just kind of one of these days when the stars align. I guess I was not expecting it because here I know how things can go. I was very relaxed before the race, just did the job and was hoping that things were going to pan out in our favor and they did and, couldn’t be any happier with this one.”
Second place – as mentioned – was PPG Team Penske’s Castroneves who capitalised on Hunter-Reay struggling with the tyres early on and got past without looking back.
A man who was lucky to score a podium was Tony Kanaan, the victim of a robust move by Hunter-Reay – who seemed to be getting everywhere – he survived unscathed whilst the American had to retire.
In fourth, and showing how competitive the field can be, was Simon Pagenaud who was in the pile up that caused the red flag. A two stop strategy was ably implemented by his Schmidt Peterson crew and the clean air he had helped propel him up the field.
Graham Rahal will pleased to get some valuable points on the board as he ran a strong race into sixth place, not far behind Scott Dixon who has shown that consistency is key in this IndyCar season.